The Family Tree(s) | Susan M. Story and Stanley Maltzman Pastel Gallery

Susan M. Story’s light-filled pastels of woodland and field are richly textured and executed with great energy and verve. Her powerful drawing creates a sense of solid forms and intimates the weight of tree limbs, roots and dense undergrowth. Meanwhile, her understanding of the way broken color can be combined to create light ensures that every subject feels fully illuminated and suffused with sunshine and air. The artist’s sense of how pastel can be made to perform at its very best may well be hereditary; she’s the daughter of pastelist Stanley Maltzman, author of Drawing Nature, whose own woodland paintings are much revered.

“I think I must have been born with a crayon in my hand,” Story says. “I took it for granted that I’d be an artist, because I was always drawing, painting, coloring and creating. It was a way
of life in my family.”

In addition, father and daughter would often go on painting excursions together. “We’d usually find a nice spot in the woods or a field,” she says. “It was very special to spend time together, and it’s one of the reasons that these woodland subjects are so comfortable for me now.”

Learn more about the familial artistic roots—and how their painting techniques differ—in the October 2015 issue of Pastel Journal, available in print or download format at and on newsstands September 15.


Spring Ballerinas (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Spring Ballerinas (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Morning Mist (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Morning Mist (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Summer Field (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Summer Field (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Twilight Fog (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Twilight Fog (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Almost Home (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Almost Home (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Autumn Birch (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Autumn Birch (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Crimson Glory (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Crimson Glory (pastel) by Susan M. Story

Evening Embers (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman

Evening Embers (pastel) by Stanley Maltzman


















































































































PASTEL PAINTING WITH THE MASTERS! This eMag featuring pastel insights and instruction from celebrated artists Duane Wakeham, Jimmy Wright and William Truman Hosner is now available at the North Light Shop!

You can have an entire of year’s worth of Pastel Journal articles at your fingertips. Add the 2014 Pastel Journal Annual CD to your pastel library!

Subscribe to Pastel Journal magazine

Watch pastel art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV

The post The Family Tree(s) | Susan M. Story and Stanley Maltzman Pastel Gallery appeared first on Artist's Network.

Pastel Pick of the Week | An Invitation to New Zealand

The Nelson, New Zealand area of the Pastel Artists of New Zealand (PANZ) invites all pastel enthusiasts to join them in April 2016 for the PANZ “Purely Pastel” National Art Awards and Convention. The event will take place in Mapua, a small town on the island’s South Island on the coastline of Tasman Bay, and will take place from April 15 through 17, with the pastel exhibition on view through May 1. Two master classes will be offered in the following days with American pastel painter, Stan Sperlak.

August Morn 8x12 Stan Sperlak-pastel

August Morn (pastel, 8×12) by Stan Sperlak


Low Pressure, Rain Arriving (pastel) by Tony Allain, a member of the Pastel Artists of New Zealand



The event is being planned with a focus on both fun and fundamentals. According to PANZ officer, Glenys Forbes, “Nelson is planning a very diverse program of presenters and demonstrators, who are very happy to share their knowledge and experience. Make this your holiday! This is a beautiful region of the country, with so much to see and do. April is the time for Autumn colors and further south you have the grandeur of the mountains and lakes.”

Registration opens in December, but you can find more information and contact informationright now  at the PANZ website.






Pastel 100 17th annualEARN RECOGNITION FOR YOUR BEST PASTEL WORK: If you’d like to get published in the Pastel Journal magazine, and win cash and art materials for your latest, greatest work in pastel, enter the 17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition! The deadline for entry is Tuesday, September 1. The top award is a cash prize of $5,000. Enter today! For all the details, and to enter online, visit our website.

pastel-painting-with-the-mastersPASTEL PAINTING WITH THE MASTERS! This eMag featuring pastel insights and instruction from celebrated artists Duane Wakeham, Jimmy Wright and William Truman Hosner is now available at the North Light Shop!



You can have an entire of year’s worth of Pastel Journal articles at your fingertips. Add the 2014 Pastel Journal Annual CD to your pastel library!

Subscribe to Pastel Journal magazine

Watch pastel art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV



The post Pastel Pick of the Week | An Invitation to New Zealand appeared first on Artist's Network.

Painting Demonstration with Kristy Gordon

In this post, an excerpt from B. J. Foreman’s article Face Off: Figure and Ground, artist Kristy Gordon leads a painting demonstration to show how she accomplishes her unique blend of abstraction and realism. Read the full article in The Artist’s Magazine’s September 2015 issue, available now!

Full Swing: Abstraction Meets Realism

by Kristy Gordon

In my recent work, I tend to position representational figures painted with traditional techniques against abstract backgrounds created with less conventional materials and methods. My self-portrait This Too Shall Pass is a case in point.

1. Canvas Preparation:

Step 1

I prepared the canvas by applying two coats of Liquitex white acrylic gesso, sanded between layers. Then, to create interesting texture, I applied thicker areas of Liquitex neutral gray acrylic gesso as well as additional white gesso with a large palette knife. Next, using Montana Gold acrylic spray paint and a stencil that I’d cut from Canson Opalux 110-lb. translucent paper, I added an image of a man’s face.

2. Background:

Step 2

I added black liquid acrylic paint, applied with a huge metal scraper and squirted straight from the paint bottle—allowing the liquid acrylic to drip. Once that application had thoroughly dried, I used a stencil to spray on the words “Mmm Porkchops,” again letting the paint drip.

3. Underpainting:

Step 3

Using transparent red oxide, alizarin permanent and ultramarine blue oils, I blocked in the figure. To establish proper proportions, I used comparative measuring with the length of the head as my base. I mapped key points of the figure with dots and lines, and then connected those marks with angled straight lines. Because this self-portrait shows me swinging upside down, I had to use photographic reference at this stage (see How I Painted Myself Swinging Upside Down, below).

4. Color Block-In:

Step 4

Using a full palette of thick paint, I established the tones and colors for the light and shadow sides of each part of the figure (head, arms, shirt). I paid attention to variations such as the reddish fingertips and blood-flushed face. I established the darkest darks but saved the brightest lights for later.

5. Modeling of Large Forms:

Step 5

Next I developed the modeling of the large forms, rendering the head like an egg, the arms like cylinders and the body like a flattened cylinder. I made sure each form retained a distinct light side and shadow side.

6. Rendering of Smaller Forms:

Step 6

Then I addressed the smaller forms (facial features and fingers) that sit on or extend from the large forms. I described these smaller forms with three planes each—a front and two sides—and then began refining their shapes. In doing this, I began adjusting the facial expression and giving definition to the hands. I was excited about the painting at this stage.

During this time I rotated the painting on the easel so that the figure was right side up as I painted (see How I Painted Myself Swinging Upside Down, below).

7. Stencil Setback:

Step 5

Working with more stencils I’d designed for background elements, I added skull and bird shapes with acrylic-based spray paint. I was having fun following my intuition but, to my dismay, the painting began taking a distinctly Halloweenish look—not what I’d intended. Disappointed, I put the painting aside for a few days.

8. Fixes and Frustrations:


I covered some of the birds and all but small portions of the skulls, and was relieved that the painting lost its Halloweenish feel. As I worked on the face, however, I realized that I was losing the intended expression. With the help of a mirror, I began working from life, which allowed me to experiment with facial expressions until I found the exact one I wanted to depict (see How I Painted Myself Swinging Upside Down, below.)

9. Play Time:


Because I’d lost some of my initial enthusiasm, I felt free to try anything without worries that I might ruin the piece. I masked the figure and experimented with more spray paint on the background. I also made major changes to the face, finally capturing the expression I desired for This Too Shall Pass (oil and acrylic on canvas, 40×48).


How I Painted Myself Swinging Upside Down

By Kristy Gordon



Painting a figure suspended upside down and swinging into the picture plane presents a challenge—especially if the painting is a self-portrait. My first step was to recruit a photographer and find a playground with monkey bars. Soon I had the necessary reference material.

In the studio I displayed my selected reference on a monitor near my easel. This enabled me to get the right proportions. Eventually I rotated the painting on my easel so the painted figure was head side up. Then I set up my lighting to replicate that in the painting and placed a mirror beside my easel. This helped me increase the accuracy of my colors and allowed me to experiment with facial expressions in the mirror. Once I’d found the expression I liked, I could paint it from life.

In this post, an excerpt from B. J. Foreman’s article Face Off: Figure and Ground, artist Kristy Gordon leads a painting demonstration to show how she accomplishes her unique blend of abstraction and realism. Read the full article in The Artist’s Magazine‘s September 2015 issue, available now!

Meet Kristy Gordon

Kristy Gordon studied television animation at Algonquin College (Ottawa), culminating her career in that field as art director of The Ren and Stimpy Show. In 2004 she turned her attention to creating and studying fine art. Since that time she’s earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing and painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto) and a master of fine arts degree in painting from the New York Academy of Art. Her work appears in more than 500 public and private collections worldwide, and her awards include Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants (2010 and 2013), finalist placement in the 2013 Kingston Prize, and an Exceptional Merit Award from the Portrait Society of America (2014). Dacia Gallery (New York City), Grenning Gallery (Sag Harbor, N.Y.) and Cube Gallery (Ottawa) represent her work. Visit her website at

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20 Ways to Create Better Work Habits in the Studio: Art Business Tips

Editor’s note: When it comes to channeling creativity, the word “organization” may not come up very often. But let’s be frank–if you’re organized, you’ll be able to work more efficiently. That said, all of us probably define organization in different ways. As long as you know what you need, when you need it, and where it is, then that’s all that matters. I’m a bit of a nut about it, to be honest … pens go in the pen holder, pencils in the pencil holder (pointy side up, so I can grab the sharpest one), etc. And yes, my family kindly puts up with it.

But being organized is just a sliver of the pie when it comes to working efficiently. Allow me to introduce to you Lori McNee.

I’ve been a long-time fan of McNee for her artwork as well as her tips and advice in regards to art business and more. It’s my sincere pleasure to share with you McNee’s take on how to create better working habits in the art studio. Some are great reminders, and some are new to me.

McNee’s new book, Fine Art Tips: Painting Techniques and Professional Advice is now available at North Light Shop, where it’s exclusively bundled with the Online Marketing & Branding Secrets eBook. Together, these resources provide you with plenty of art business tips and painting advice. It’s a win/win. ~Cherie

Art business tips from Lori McNee |

“Better work habits go hand-in-hand with a functioning workspace,” says McNee. “Years ago, I converted a small bedroom of my home into an efficient art studio. To help minimize clutter, I added high shelves which display my still life props and art studies. Big French doors replaced a small window which now adds to extra studio space during the summer months Recently, I painted the dingy plywood floors for a fresh look and easier clean-up.”

Art Business Advice by Lori McNee

Some artists don’t like to think in terms of habits. We like to be free thinkers and often fight against structure and rules. But, just like with winning entrepreneurs, we must have good working habits in order to be effective and successful artists.

We all have different ways of doing things – there is no right or wrong way, but there can be better ways. Artists are self-starters and without good habits we can float off and lose our focus. Good habits produce good results. Our effectiveness requires the integrity to act on our priorities.

Art studio inspiration with Lori McNee |

“I paint in both oil and encaustic mediums, so for better work habits I have broken up my studio space into two specific work stations. The large stainless steel table is perfect for working flat and is fire retardent for working with open flames when melting encaustic wax. My large adjustable wooden easel is used for painting both still lifes and landscapes. The adjustable shelf to the left if perfect for setting up my still life props, and it is handy for my computer monitor that I use to enlarge reference photos. Note how I use a bit of extra wall space to hang small, empty frames.”

Here are 20 broad ideas to help you form good working habits for your art business:

  1. Focus on top priorities (get bills, etc. out of the way).
  2. Eliminate the unimportant (time-wasters, busy work).
  3. Be proactive.
  4. Plan weekly goals (write a ‘to do’ list and get the big picture).
  5. Plan daily goals (outline the day).
  6. Begin with the end in mind.
  7. Get into the studio with your morning cup of coffee.
  8. Train yourself to be regular and workmanlike.
  9. Slow down & focus.
  10. Don’t take on too much work at once.
  11. Don’t be lazy.
  12. Highlight a problem, and find a solution.
  13. Balance work, rest and exercise into your day.
  14. Build your business relationships, and learn how to build your art brand on Twitter!
  15. Block out time to read and study. Stay current and informed with your favorite blogs, magazines and books.
  16. Cut down on trivia, busywork, time-wasters, TV, escape activities (including too much Twitter or Facebook).
  17. Leave your studio organized and ready for the next day!
  19. Surround yourself with supportive people.
  20. Stay positive.
Art studio organization and business tips with Lori McNee |

“Limited on storage space, I opened up the dead-space above the old bedroom closets to make more room for storage. A large ventilation system by Vent-A-Fume was installed for better air quality when working with toxic encaustics or varnishes. An oven range-hood and fan were also added above a small laminated drawing table for a great encaustic corner. An adjustable wall easel propped against the bookshelf gives me another painting station when I’m working on multiple pieces.” Check out my art at

The good news is that the more you practice a new behavior, the more it will become a habit.

Psychologists say that it takes approximately 21 days to condition ourselves to make a habit automatic. A month is a good block of time to work on forming better work habits because it easily fits in your calendar.

Tool your habits towards your goals and the things that motivate you. Imagine the benefits of increased organization and productivity, fewer crises, more life balance and peace of mind. And remember, where you are headed is more important than how fast you are getting there.

Lori McNee |

Join me on Facebook and Twitter!

Now I just need to practice what I preach! ~Lori 😉

You may also be interested in my blog post on creating art in small studios.

Learn more about Lori McNee’s new book, Fine Art Tips, at North Light Shop, and get your copy today!

The post 20 Ways to Create Better Work Habits in the Studio: Art Business Tips appeared first on Artist's Network.

Learn How to Paint Water in Watercolor: 3 Demos

How to Paint WaterA Mesmerizing Subject

Water is always changing, always different. It can act as a mirror, reflecting its surroundings back at us, or it can be opaque and impossible to read; it can be calm or whipped up by weather, deep or shallow, sometimes it moves, sometimes it’s still. It flows through our literature, adding symbolism and meaning to everything we do; cleans us, soothes us, washes away our troubles, and yet, even a few drops of it in the lungs can be dangerous.

No wonder it’s a constant source of fascination to artists! With a subject so mutable, there is no end to the possibilities that come from painting it, and it’s an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Learn How to Paint Water in Watercolor

Water in Watercolor PaintingsThere are so many ways to approach the subject of water in your watercolor art, but sometimes, the simplest approaches are the best. In his art video, Improve Your Water Painting Techniques in Watercolor, Gordon MacKenzie demonstrates three approaches to the subject and shows that learning how to paint water can be fun, with achievable results right away. You’ll learn how to paint water flowing over rocks, add rays of light and fish to a rock pond using negative painting techniques, and cap it off with white-tipped waves in a seascape.

Gordon MacKenzie’s instruction is easy to follow, as CW testifies to: “Excellent water painting techniques taught in a nice simple manner.” –

Preview Improve Your Water Painting Techniques in Watercolor to learn how to paint water flowing around and over rocks with an easy watercolor painting technique, and get the full video, materials list, and more! Or, get the download!

Learning how to paint water means you’ll never lack for subject matter. So whenever you’re stuck for inspiration in your landscape art, why not find the nearest body of water?

The post Learn How to Paint Water in Watercolor: 3 Demos appeared first on Artist's Network.

In Eagan, Van Gogh’s ‘Olive Trees’ is a planting, not a painting

If you are flying into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport over the next couple of months, here’s a tip: Book your seat on the left side of the airplane. That should give you the best view of a huge artwork taking shape in Eagan.

In a field below the flight path, Stan Herd and some helpers are at work with tools and plants. It’s not immediately obvious, but Stan Herd is recreating a work by Vincent van Gogh called “Olive Trees.”

“I feel very connected to the man here,” Herd said. “That may be hubris, but I just do. I’m getting to live in a Van Gogh painting.

Herd is internationally known for his earthworks. By careful planting, grooming and tending, he transforms open spaces, whether fields or derelict urban lots, into brilliantly colored artworks.

When the Minneapolis Institute of Art invited him to create a work based on something in its collection as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, Herd said, he leapt at the chance.

And his first choice was “Olive Trees,” which Van Gogh painted in 1889, just before he died. Herd carries a battered photocopy of the painting with him as a reference.

“There’s a lot of movement in this painting,” he said. “And so that will be my task over the next six weeks … to try to pull colors in.”

The original painting is about 29 inches by 36. Herd’s version covers about an acre. A slash of paint smaller than a fingernail on the canvas is yards long on the ground.

From the ground, it’s hard to see the work. That’s where Herd’s photocopy is vital. He’s marked it off in a grid and uses it to pinpoint where he needs to dig, plant and mow.

Read the full artical

It did get me thinking about Mr gogh